Do you need a drug driving offence lawyer in Melbourne?
Drug driving offences in Victoria are extremely serious, and carry with them heavy mandatory penalties including fines, loss of licence, and even jail time in severe cases. Therefore, getting expert advice as soon as possible is vital. Organising a time to speak with an experienced criminal lawyer can help navigate the legal proceedings that follow, ensuring the best possible outcome for you.
Anthony Isaacs are experienced criminal lawyers who regularly work with clients who have been charged with drug driving offences, so get in touch with our team today to organise your free case assessment.
What is drug driving?
Drug driving is driving under the influence of illicit drugs, or having an illicit drug in your system whilst driving a motor vehicle which is present in your blood, urine or saliva.
What are the similarities between drug driving and drink driving?
Drug driving offences are the most serious driving offence, with the main difference between the two charges being level of impairment. Both drug and drink driving offences can result in hefty fines, suspension or cancellation of your licence and even jail time, which goes against your criminal record.
In Victoria as well if you have been charged with a drink or drug driving offence you must also complete a behavioural change program before you are then eligible to reapply for your licence. However, in some cases if you are a repeat offender then the penalties become more severe, and so do the conditions in which you can reapply for a driving licence.
Common drug driving related offences resulting in licence suspension
Victorian police can suspend your driving licence immediately if you are charged with any of the following:
- Refusal offence – not willing to provide oral fluid, drug impairment, blood or urine tests
- Combined drug and alcohol offence – this is the result of a high alcohol reading which has been impaired by a drug
- Have committed a second drug or drink driving offence within the last 10 years.
It is important to note that whilst these offences are categorised as an ‘immediate suspension’ even though they may not be enforced immediately. In some cases suspensions can take up to 12 months to action. The suspension can also last up to the date in the suspension notice or until your case has been heard in the magistrates court.
How do the police charge drug offences?
When assessing your level of impairment, Victorian police will perform an impairment test. This test’s purpose is not to determine the precise amount of drugs in your system at the time, but instead to understand the physical effects that the drugs were having on your ability to control an automobile.
If it is believed at this stage that your behaviour or appearance has been affected by a drug other than alcohol, then police can require you to accompany them to the station or another location for a further assessment.
Common drug driving penalties when failing a roadside drug test
What is a penalty unit?
Penalty and fee units are used in Victoria’s Acts and Regulations to describe the amount of a fine or a fee.
I’ve been caught drug driving. Will I lose my license?
Yes. Anyone charged with a drug driving offence will have their licence suspended for a minimum of 6 months. The length of time however, depends on the offence, and circumstances. For instance first offence versus repeated offender.
What is the difference between a suspended and cancelled license?
- Suspended License – The Court will specify an amount of time for which you cannot drive. Once this time has elapsed, your licence becomes valid again.
- Cancelled License – The Court will specify an amount of time for which you cannot drive. Once this time has elapsed, and any required conditions have been met, you must reapply for your licence through VicRoads and likely attend a Court hearing.
Can I apply for a work only license?
Despite popular belief, there is no such thing in Victoria as a ‘work only’ licence. Anyone found guilty of drug driving will have their licence cancelled.
Even with the best reasons in the world, the Court has no power to make exceptions so that people can continue driving for special purposes. The laws impose mandatory licence loss.
What happens if I refused to take a roadside drug test?
Whilst you can refuse to take a roadside drug test, the consequences of not complying with police and taking one can often be far more severe than failing a drug test. In Victoria, offenders receiving their first offence could receive a maximum fine to the value of 12 demerit points and a licence suspension for a 2 year period.
I’ve been charged with drug driving. What should I do next?
If you have been charged with a drug driving offence it is important to consult with a legal professional as soon as possible. They will be able to help you in providing the most appropriate action to take next for your drug related charge and how to proceed.
At Anthony Isaacs we regularly work with clients who have been charged with drug related offences. For your free case assessment please contact our team for more information.